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When I returned to my room in the Quad after last year’s winter break, I was greeted by a not-so-pleasant holiday gift.

While my two roommates and I were away, three blind mice had transformed our living space into their personal abode. As I walked through our doorway in early January, the stench that greeted me made something instantly apparent — those three blind mice had become three dead mice.

Throughout the remainder of my freshman year, mice continued to be a major problem in my room. My experience dealing with pests and rodents in college housing, though, is certainly not unique among Penn students.

Although critters like mice are somewhat of an inevitability when it comes to living in a city like Philadelphia, there are certain steps Penn students should consider taking when trying to get rid of them.

While I found Facilities and Real Estate Services to be an invaluable resource in helping set up traps and plug small holes in our walls, the long layover between when I submitted an online work request and when somebody showed up to address the problem was often frustrating. Therefore, Penn students should always be sure to follow up any online request with a phone call. Even if it’s not a dire emergency, a phone call can accelerate the process greatly.

College sophomore Maggie Buff, who — along with her two roommates in Rodin College House — has dealt with major roach infestations at times throughout the year, added that Penn students living on campus should always be prepared with a bottle of Raid insecticide in their rooms.

“We’ve definitely learned to be more careful not to let any clutter pile up in the room,” she said, since roaches often prefer furrowing themselves between small, dark spaces. She added that students should always be sure to flush roaches down the toilet to ensure they will not return.

For students who live off campus, the process for getting rid of unwanted pests can be slightly different. Wharton junior Athena Burkett — who has dealt with mice, squirrels and possums in her house on 38th and Chestnut streets — said a “very frustrating” factor can be dealing with a landlord.

“Documentation of your problem is key — you should be sure to get pictures of the animal, of the damage it’s doing,” she recommended. “Just be persistent with your landlord. The more persistent you are, the faster they’ll take care of it.”

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